Autistic Rights Together
Statement on the continued use of Physical Restraint Systems and Seclusion in Irish Special Needs schools
The use of Physical Restraint and seclusion on Autistic children and/or any child is an inherently inhumane and damaging practise which although banned in many parts of the world continues to be used within many special needs schools and classrooms in Ireland.
One such restraint method which involves the child being held face down on the floor by three people (two at the legs and one at the child’s shoulders/head) is in use in Ireland today.
The fact that Autistic children can be subjected to violent restraint within the school system with no legal onus on the school staff or management to report the instances and/or reasons behind the action of restraint or seclusion is a violation of the persons human rights, according to the principles outlined in the European Convention in Human Rights, Article 3 (Prohibition of Torture).
These inhumane practises are at odds with the principles outlined within both the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the United Nations Convention on the rights of Persons with Disabilities.
It has come to our attention that a number of cases involving extremely damaging use of such Restraint and Seclusion methods are currently under investigation in Ireland.
It is also known that a number of schools have used the threat of suspension, expulsion and the withdrawal of services from vulnerable families if they do not sign consent forms to allow the use of such Restraint and Seclusion methods on their Autistic/special needs children.
This is a vile abuse of power and a direct consequence of the failing of the Irish Government to protect the rights of the most vulnerable people in our society.
It is a damning indictment of the failing of the Government that parents and families are forced to take legal advice to ensure their children are protected from these abusive treatments within the Irish education system.